Capital One Arena

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Capital One Arena is an indoor arena in Washington, D.C. Owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, it is the home arena of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association, the Georgetown University men's basketball team, the Washington Mystics of the WNBA, and the Washington Valor of the Arena Football League.

Located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Capital One Arena sits atop the Gallery Place rapid transit station of the Washington Metro. The arena has been largely considered to be a commercial success and is regarded as one of the driving catalysts of the revitalization of Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown neighborhood. [9]

History

The arena was built in the mid-1990s solely with private financing by Abe Pollin, and is situated on top of land leased from the District of Columbia. It opened on December 2, 1997, as the MCI Center. Nearly a decade later, in January 2006, Verizon Communications purchased MCI and the arena's name was changed accordingly to Verizon Center. [9] The following year, in 2007, the "first true indoor high-definition LED scoreboard " was installed at the Verizon Center. [10] [2]

On June 10, 2010, following Pollin's death in November 2009, the Pollin family sold the arena, along with the Washington Wizards and the Washington-Baltimore area Ticketmaster franchise, to Ted Leonsis, who already owned the arena's other tenant, the Washington Capitals. Leonsis subsequently formed a new management company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment. [2]

A report emerged in May 2015 that Verizon would not renew its naming rights to the arena when its agreement with Monumental ended in 2018. [2] [2] In the same week, it was announced that Etihad Airways signed a deal to become the official airline of the arena, sparking speculation that Etihad might be the leading contender to assume naming rights in 2017. [2] However, on August 9, 2017, it was announced Verizon Center had instead been renamed Capital One Arena, when Capital One signed an agreement worth $100 million over 10 years. [2] [2] [2] [2]

The Washington Valor began play at the arena for their inaugural season in the Arena Football League. [2] The Mystics will move after the 2018 WNBA season to a new, smaller arena currently under construction in the Congress Heights area of southeast Washington. [3]

Criticism

Gentrification

When the arena opened, there was concern that it would lead to the displacement of Chinese businesses and culture in the area that is the city's Chinatown. [22] The surrounding area has indeed been dramatically gentrified, and most of the Chinese residents and businesses who lived and operated in the neighborhood when the arena first opened have been displaced because of the spike in real estate prices. [23] Recent estimates hold that the number of Chinese in the neighborhood is down to around 400 to 500. [23] The Chinese-owned restaurants and businesses in the Chinatown area are largely gone and there has not been a full-service Chinese grocery in the neighborhood since 2005. [23]

Ice quality issues

In December 2007, then-Capitals captain Chris Clark gained a bit of press by stating that he believed the arena had the worst ice in the NHL. "There's a lot of ruts in the ice. It's soft. It's wet half the time. I could see a lot of injuries coming from the ice there. It could cost [players] their jobs... Even guys on other teams say the same thing. When we're facing off, they say, 'How do you guys play on this?'" Capitals owner Ted Leonsis addressed this criticism directly. [3] The ice quality issue has been persistent both since the opening of the facility and with the Capitals franchise in general. [3] Since Leonsis' acquisition of the facility, the quality of the ice has gotten better and number of complaints has noticeably decreased. During playoff games, the arena installs a system to help remove hot air and humidity to maintain the ice conditions during warmer times of the year.

See also

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